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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Childhood (09/03/09)

TITLE: Mixed Feelings
By Ada Nett


Strange how years of subtle abuse had affected her memory. The childhood scenes of pure unadulterated joy were stuffed deeply inside her psyche. Her memories were hidden so far below the surface that "he" couldn’t touch them.

Locked away like a treasure was a part of her he’d not desecrated and never would. These precious memories were safe. Maybe too safe, for even she didn’t remember them. That is until “he” was gone. Then one by one her childhood memories began to resurface, like exquisite jewels trapped inside delicate bubbles deep in the ocean of her past. Almost like a vague dream they began to float up and into her stream of consciousness. Slowly with each healing day the memories gained clarity and took on the vivid colors of reality.

In the first shimmering light of recollection she was being held . It was more a “feeling” than a mental memory picture. It was the awareness of being enfolded in love as her tiny infant body lay cradled against her daddy’s strong shoulder. It had been a long time since she’d felt earthly protection and she welcomed the memory and immersed herself in it.

Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans were playing trumpets. Dancing Bear was, of course, dancing. It was early morning and she sat in front of the TV screen eating cornflakes still dressed in her pajamas. That was it. There was no more to this memory. Yet, in it’s brevity, it held an unblemished aura of pre-school peace. Capturing the sweet innocence of a child as yet untouched by soul-deep suffering.

“Princess” …This crystal bubble burst and dropped the word like a pearl into the very center of her being. She had once been precious enough to be called “princess.” A little girl cherished and adored. After being repeatedly told as an adult that she was stupid and unworthy by the man who had raped her soul, this one beautiful word demolished the wall she’d built around her heart, and allowed healing to soak her withered esteem with the worth she‘d once worn as a childhood crown.

Unbidden the fragrance of yarrow overwhelmed her senses. The little girl that she once was, remembered herself standing in the sunshine surrounded by deep purple flowers. It was a perfect day made even more perfect by the wiggly puppy she held in her arms. She’d dressed it in a baby doll dress and bonnet. She remembered being dismayed that the little fellow’s long ears had kept falling out from under the hat. She smiled as she recalled that she’d solved that problem by clipping the pup’s ears back with a clothes pin! Such an ordinary event yet elevated to heights of glory in it’s simple unspoiled purity. Here was a state of grace unmarred by the blood of wounds to come. Here was a day “he” never knew existed. Here was a piece of herself he‘d never touched.

Her twin cousins and she spent southern summer days playing pretend scenes from the western TV shows that dominated the airwaves back in the early sixties. She remembered spending hours re-enacting the shows. Their favorite had been Bonanza. Those Cartwright boys were heroes who always rescued the lady and sent the bad guys to jail. This memory was bittersweet in light of the truth that reality is not always true to TV. Living the days of that southern summer child, she never dreamed that her life could turn out to be so harsh.

It was bizarre how all the years she’d spent with “him” had been devoid of her childhood memories. She had somehow managed under his total dominating and manipulative behavior to cling to that small fragment of herself. He had never really known her and she took an enormous measure of satisfaction in the thought.

Her fears are fading now as she retrieves more and more pieces of who she was and who she is. Her confidence is still a little shaky and her insecurities often spill out in embarrassing places. Trust is hard to come by but she's trying. Transparency scares her to death but the alternative of staying bound in the chains “he” wrought around her soul scares her much, much more.

The childhood memories are mine. The adult pain is mine too.

The grace of my Heavenly Father has ordained that my life's joy and pain be mingled together into a completely healed and whole person. My writing is His mixing bowl. To Him be the glory …Amen

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This article has been read 612 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Johnson09/10/09
I am glad that you found God's healing grace through your childhood memories...
I used to pretend that I was the Cartwright's little sister. (lol!)
Robyn Burke09/10/09
Your title is exactly what I was experiencing as I read your piece.
I would find it hard to believe that this not a true life story for there is exquisite honesty laid forth here. That takes a lot of courage and for that I applaud you!
Your descriptions are rich, dramatic and full of emotion. Almost too much in places... it can be a bit overwhelming if not balanced carefully.
But you have pulled me into your story and exposed yourself; your life story touches my life story...as writers can there be anything better?
Margaret Gass09/12/09
I love your next to the last line: "My writing is His mixing bowl." It shows an understanding of His hand on your life and a willingness to trust Him to do what only He can do. Writing is indeed healing. Thank you for your transparency.
Joy Faire Stewart09/14/09
This feels like a true story, and I found it heartbreaking. The emotions are vivid and raw. Your writing is excellent.
Jan Ackerson 09/14/09
Heartbreaking, and well-written.
Allen Stark09/16/09
Those of us who have, to one degree or another, experienced childhood abuse, know exactly what you mean when you say you use your writing as "a mixing bowl."